25 Best Places to Visit in Eastern Europe

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Eastern Europe may not be everybody’s primary journey vacation spot. Communist-era buildings, the conflicts in the Nineties and border disputes in current years have meant a lot of the area has been missed by potential vacationers.

But with its patchwork of fairly, pastel-colored previous cities, unbelievable historical historical past, thrilling nightlife, and nature from sprawling lakes to swooping mountains, Eastern Europe is a shocking delight. History, tradition, nature, ethnicity – all of them combine into an intriguing swirl that’s making this a part of Europe an more and more common trip vacation spot.

25. Vilnius

Vilnius

Vilnius is the Lithuanian capital which comes full with a very lovely previous city. This coronary heart of the town boasts Baroque structure alongside its cobblestone streets. But you’ll be able to see extra than simply Baroque: there’s the Gothic Saint Anne’s Church, the Sixteenth-century Gate of Dawn, and the Neo-Classical Vilnius Cathedral.

Other than being residence to Europe’s largest Baroque previous city, Vilnius incorporates an array of bars and cafes hidden down charming alleyways and lining atmospheric courtyards. With a big inhabitants of scholars (over 20,000 of them), after evening falls, Vilnius turns into a vibrant vacation spot with flowing beer and reside music.

24. Minsk

Minsk

Minsk is the Belarusian capital. Completely destroyed throughout World War II, the town sadly not has a lot in the best way of historic monuments or buildings. With that in thoughts, a lot of Minsk is definitely made up of Stalinist structure, akin to Independence Square, a sprawling former KGB headquarters, and more moderen, very spectacular church buildings.

Nowadays, Minsk is a contemporary metropolis with cool cafes to relax in with a espresso, eating places with worldwide delicacies, and attention-grabbing artwork galleries. It’s a cosmopolitan capital that appears to be shifting with the instances, with a bunch of nightclubs and bars to go to in the evenings.

23. High Tatras

High Tatras

This rugged assortment of mountains on the border of northern Slovakian is the tallest vary in the Carpathian Mountains. Mount Krivan is the best peak and is an emblem of the Slovak satisfaction, luring lots of its countrymen to climb to the summit.

Over 100 emerald lakes, gushing waterfalls, and Alpine meadows characterize this lovely area, making it an ideal place to hike round; in the winter skiers flock to the snow-covered slopes of the High Tatras. Luckily, you’ll be able to keep in this marvel of nature, thanks to lodging starting from lakefront lodgings to extra rustic mountainside retreats.

22. Sofia

Sofia

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia sits in the west of the nation. Being one thing of a crossroads for Europe, it has attracted invaders and settlers alike for the previous 2,000 years. Its structure and landmarks replicate the historical past of the area, together with Ottoman mosques, Greek temples, Roman ruins, and Soviet monuments.

Despite its age, Sofia is a surprisingly youthful metropolis with a laid-back ambiance, the place its residents take pleasure in stress-free in inexperienced parks and strolling alongside the boulevard. There are loads of museums and galleries for you to delve into, however however, nightlife abounds, with a plethora of eating places and nightclubs.

21. Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park sits in the south of the little-visited Balkan thriller of Albania, simply throughout the ocean from Corfu. It’s acquired nearly the whole lot you would need in a nationwide park – lakes, marshes, grassy plains, wetlands, and even archaeological websites. These embody the positioning of Butrint itself; identified in Latin as Buthrotum, it’s stuffed with historical structure, together with a really nicely preserved Roman-era theatre and a Greek acropolis.

Elsewhere, this park boasts distant, rocky islands; one even encompasses a Fifteenth-century Venetian fortress referred to as the Ali Pasha Castle. Visitors trying to keep in Butrint ought to select one of many few casual, family-run lodgings right here.

20. Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

In the South Bohemia area in the Czech Republic lies Cesky Krumlov. This historic metropolis is a supremely picturesque place to go to; assume orange-tiled rooftops and the gorgeous riverside of the Vltava River, all flanked by inexperienced, rolling hills.

Made up of Renaissance and Baroque structure, the city is missed by a powerful Thirteenth-century fortress, patchworked with quite a lot of kinds by way of the ages; there’s additionally an ornate Baroque theatre to marvel at right here.

It’s a city that shouldn’t be missed due to its sheer allure and wonder. Come in summer season and keep until the solar goes down to watch the energetic metropolis come alive with bars and eating places.

19. Golden Ring

Golden Ring

This is an unlimited space northeast of Moscow, Russia, that encompasses a handful of historic Russian cities. The medieval cities type a ‘Golden Ring,’ and due to their significance in the early historical past of Russia and the Rus tribe who based it, have been labeled open-air museums.

The principal cities are Sergiyev Posad, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir, Suzdal, Yarislavl, Perislavl-Zalessky, and Rostov Veliky. There are important spiritual websites such because the 14th-century monastery of Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, grand buildings like Yarislavl, and different church buildings telling the story of a millennium of Russian Orthodox historical past.

18. Warsaw

Warsaw

The Polish capital of Warsaw has had a protracted, complicated historical past, typically marked by warfare and battle. It was very a lot broken throughout World War II, as an illustration, with the previous city destroyed. However, it has been lovingly rebuilt to its former medieval glory, with brightly coloured townhouses making for a fairly – if barely synthetic – place to wander round.

There’s a combined bag of structure throughout the town, together with up to date cafes and bars to uncover. There are loads of outside areas to take pleasure in and, with loads of eating places and a few culinary brilliance occurring, it’s a wonderful vacation spot for foodies.

See additionally: Warsaw Attractions

17. Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

Set in western (*25*), the vacation vacation spot of Lake Balaton is awash with lovely seashores alongside its shores, in addition to resort cities. Flanked by volcanic hills, it’s the biggest lake in Eastern Europe, and is considered the ‘Hungarian Inner Sea.’

On the northern shores, you’ll discover the city of Szigliget, residence to a medieval fortress, and the oldest medieval city in the realm – Tihany. This previous city encompasses a gorgeous Baroque abbey as its centerpiece.

If you want wine, you’ll be comfortable to know that Lake Balaton is legendary for its vineyards, which dot the encircling hills. Windsurfing and crusing are common throughout the summer season months.

16. Mostar

Mostar

Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is legendary for its Old Bridge over the Neretva River; in reality, the identify Mostar derives from mostari, that means ‘bridge keeper.’ The bridge was constructed in 1556 beneath the orders of the occupying Ottomans, however was destroyed 427 years later in 1993 by Croat forces throughout the Balkan Wars.

Though it’s simply reachable on a day journey from neighboring Croatia, to get essentially the most out of your go to to Mostar, the very best factor to do is keep in a single day. The crowds of daytrippers trickle away, and the eating places excessive above the river alongside cobbled streets gentle up.

15. Riga

Riga

Situated on the Baltic Sea, Latvia’s capital is a mixture of conventional and up to date life. It’s an lively place, the place tradition combines with the cobblestone streets for an thrilling metropolis ambiance.

You can count on intricate Art Nouveau structure intermingling with Gothic spires in the town’s lovely previous city, in addition to a buzzing central market the place you’ll be able to dive into the town’s gastronomic delights – from cheese and sausage to black bread – good for a picnic in considered one of Riga’s fairly parks. Sip a cool cocktail or a neighborhood beer in one of many many pubs when evening falls and the enjoyable begins.

14. Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid

Straddling the borders of Macedonia and Albania, Lake Ohrid wins not one however two accolades of the pure world: it’s one of many deepest, and in addition one of many oldest lakes in Europe. Most of the lake falls inside Macedonia, making this the very best place to base your self to see the spectacle.

The previous city of Ohrid itself, for instance, is residence to previous structure, family-run lodgings, and a maze of slim, cobblestone lanes to get misplaced in. Further south across the lake, Sveti Naum Monastery dates again to 905 AD and is an exquisite constructing to behold, with views of the encircling mountains and lake equally gorgeous.

13. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Huddled in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is legendary for its 16 terraced lakes, all conjoined by waterfalls that spill right into a limestone canyon. This beautiful space is a playground for individuals with a way of journey, who take pleasure in mountain climbing amongst improbable surroundings.

You can count on boardwalks and mountain climbing trails that wind by way of limestone rock formations and cliffs, and across the variegated waters of the lakes. That shade change is down to the totally different mineral content material of every lake. It’s no surprise that this elegant space was chosen to be Croatia’s first nationwide park – and that it’s a very fashionable spot in summer season.

12. Belgrade

Belgrade

Belgrade is an previous metropolis. The capital of Serbia, its lengthy historical past includes not solely Romans and Slavic tribes, but in addition Ottomans and Habsburg royals. In more moderen instances, it was the capital of Yugoslavia.

A proud, daring metropolis, Belgrade – whereas not at all times lovely – has an eclectic vitality all of its personal, with Soviet blocks subsequent to golden age Art Nouveau buildings; the town’s patchwork historical past stays. It’s additionally a full of life place to be and one of the vital hip capitals of Eastern Europe. Spend time sipping espresso in quirky cafes, stroll alongside the pedestrianized boulevard Knez Mihailova, and hit up one of many packed bars in the riverside Savamala quarter.

See additionally: Top Attractions in Belgrade

11. Kyiv

Kiev

The Ukranian capital is an intriguing place – it’s vibrant, it’s historic, it’s atmospheric. Founded in the fifth century AD, Kyiv is considered one of Eastern Europe’s oldest cities, and was the middle of the federation of Kievan Rus’.

There are loads of locations to take in the historical past, like on the Pechersk Lavra complicated – an necessary Orthodox Christian church – in addition to the Saint Sophia Cathedral, with its breathtaking interiors and golden domes.

Elsewhere, the Motherland Monument is a dizzying Soviet marvel in concrete. At weekends, Khreschatyk Street is pedestrianized and comes alive with individuals having fun with their days off.

10. Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Slovenia’s spectacular Lake Bled sits in the Julian Alps in the northwest of the nation. This dazzling, mirror-like physique of water is backed by tree-covered hills and snow-peaked mountains, for one of the vital awe-inspiring pure wonders in Eastern Europe.

Here, there’s Bled Castle sitting excessive on a cliff above the lake, and Bled Island in the middle of the lake, reached by conventional wood boats referred to as pletna. There are a variety of mountain climbing paths across the lake, meandering in and out of woodlands and villages. The city of Bled is a well-liked place to base your self to discover the lake, however staying in the capital of Ljubljana places you in straightforward attain, too.

9. Budapest

Budapest

The Hungarian capital that straddles the Danube River – and previously the capital of the illustrious Austro-Hungarian Empire – Budapest is made up of three cities – Buda, Pest, and Obuda. Pest, in the east, is characterised by its Neo-Gothic spires – in explicit, the hovering Parliament Building.

Buda, with its medieval Castle Hill, Thirteenth-century Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion, can hint its historical past again to the Romans. Obuda is even older: the Roman capital of Pannonia, Aquincum, was established right here in 106 AD.

Around the town, benefit from the much-loved thermal baths, spend a night on the opera, pedal round Margaret Island, and hop across the emblematic break bars.

8. Bay of Kotor

Bay of Kotor

A sweeping bay in the jap Adriatic Sea, the Bay of Kotor – also called Boka – is located in southwestern Montenegro. It’s an exquisite spot ringed by jagged inexperienced hills and medieval cities, with red-roofed homes spilling down to the shoreline. Best explored by automobile alongside its winding roads, the area is packed full with unbelievable sights – from previous citadels to islands topped with monasteries.

The bucolic, lovely Bay of Kotor transcends others in the area – and there’s loads of probabilities for seafood and scrumptious dinners by the ocean to complement the surroundings. Kotor old town is a Venetian surprise, surrounded by partitions with a mountain backdrop that’s nicely value utilizing as a base.

7. Tallinn

Tallinn

The capital of Estonia, Tallinn entices. With its 14-century previous city, constructed as a protection system, if you stroll by way of the spectacular medieval Viru Gates, you’ll be able to really feel the historical past straight away.

Parts of Tallinn’s metropolis wall are nonetheless walkable, full with home windows the place you’ll be able to glimpse the charming metropolis under; you too can get grand vistas of the town skyline from the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform atop Toompea Hill.

There are additionally historic church buildings akin to Saint Olaf’s Church, courting again to the 1200s. Tallinn has a hipster facet too: former warehouses comprise Telliskivi Creative City, full with stylish eating places, bars, and outlets.

6. Transylvania

Transylvania

The central Romanian area of Transylvania is synonymous with tales of Dracula and bloodthirsty vampires. Whilst not fully true, the realm is legendary in phrases of its pure magnificence; bordered by the Carpathian Mountains, visiting Transylvania is like being transported right into a slow-paced, medieval world. The countryside abounds quaint villages and native life between pastures and swathes of hills blanketed by timber.

There are many historic fortresses constructed by medieval German settlers, together with the well-known Bran Castle: these daunting spires make up what’s popularly referred to as Dracula’s Castle. Make certain to go to the colourful metropolis of Sighisoara, stacked with Saxon medieval structure. You must also check out the area’s many thermal springs.

5. Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

The previous capital of Imperial Russia, St. Petersburg is the cultural heart of the nation. It was based in 1703 by Peter the Great and is residence to lavish imperial buildings. Other sights embody the Mariinsky Theatre for a world class ballet and opera, the lavish Eighteen Eighties Church of Spilled Blood, in addition to the State Russian Museum, the place you’ll be able to muse over Kandinsky Pieces.

The Hermitage Museum, unfold over six buildings together with the attractive Winter Palace, has an unbelievable assortment of antiques to marvel at. St. Petersburg can be a canal metropolis with a Baltic shoreline to boot; you’ll be able to count on nice buying, eating and nightlife.

4. Krakow

Krakow

This southern Polish metropolis, shut to the Czech Republic, is a former royal capital. There is a beguiling mixture of medieval buildings and modern-day, youthful nightlife to take in right here. Krakow is understood not just for its previous city – full with the Thirteenth-century Rynek Glowny, a cafe-lined market sq., which is the place you’ll discover the long-lasting Cloth Hall, the grandiose centerpiece of the sq..

It’s additionally identified for its Old Jewish Quarter, referred to as Kazimierz. Once residence to the Jewish neighborhood of Krakow, Kazimierz has a brand new lease of life with boutiques and nice eating places; you too can go to locations that appeared in Schindler’s List.

3. Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Set in the south of Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is legendary for its previous city. This walled, medieval a part of city was shelled in 1991 throughout the Balkan Wars, however has been restored to its former glory. Take a stroll alongside the previous metropolis partitions and be beguiled by the Baroque buildings; take pleasure in lazy afternoons at streetside eating places absorbing the splendor of the town.

Stroll alongside the Stradun – the primary pedestrian walkway by way of city – choose up some morning produce on the market in Gundulic Square, and siesta in a variety of lodging. Fans of Game of Thrones and Star Wars can simply discover filming areas across the fortress.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

See additionally: Top Dubrovnik Attractions

2. Moscow

Moscow

The Russian capital is a must-visit vacation spot. It’s residence of the Kremlin – the historic castle-turned-presidential complicated – Red Square – an emblem of Russia’s energy, and Lenin’s Mausoleum, the place you’ll be able to see the previous Communist chief mendacity in situ.

Of course, the fascinating and colourful onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral aren’t to be missed, both. Museums, akin to Pushkin State Museum and the State Tretyakov Gallery, permit you to study extra about Moscow, too.

Iconic ballet might be seen on the equally iconic Bolshoi Theatre. For nightlife and bars, head to the Garden Ring District; that is the place you will discover Moscow’s youthful vibrancy.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Moscow

See additionally: Top Moscow Attractions

1. Prague

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Eastern Europe

Prague was given the nickname ‘City of 100 Spires,’ and it’s not wholly incorrect: the previous city of Prague is bristling with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque structure, boasting hovering spires that make the skyline like one thing from one other time. Now the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague was as soon as capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Prague has loads of sights pointing to its historical past, just like the ninth century AD Prague Castle. There’s the 14th-century Charles Bridge boasting its stunningly ornate Gothic towers, and the previous city sq. the place you’ll discover Prague Astronomical Clock – the oldest nonetheless functioning in the world.

One of Europe’s hottest metropolis locations, Prague can be awash with lodgings, eateries, bars, and nightlife.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Prague

See additionally: Top Prague Attractions


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